Modulation of PPARγ Provides New Insights in a Stress Induced Premature Senescence Model

<div><p>Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) may be involved in a key mechanism of the skin aging process, influencing several aspects related to the age-related degeneration of skin cells, including antioxidant unbalance. Therefore, we investigated whether the up-modulation of this nuclear receptor exerts a protective effect in a stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS) model based on a single exposure of human dermal fibroblasts to 8-methoxypsoralen plus + ultraviolet-A-irradiation (PUVA). Among possible PPARγ modulators, we selected 2,4,6-octatrienoic acid (Octa), a member of the parrodiene family, previously reported to promote melanogenesis and antioxidant defense in normal human melanocytes through a mechanism involving PPARγ activation. Exposure to PUVA induced an early and significant decrease in PPARγ expression and activity. PPARγ up-modulation counteracted the antioxidant imbalance induced by PUVA and reduced the expression of stress response genes with a synergistic increase of different components of the cell antioxidant network, such as catalase and reduced glutathione. PUVA-treated fibroblasts grown in the presence of Octa are partially but significantly rescued from the features of the cellular senescence-like phenotype, such as cytoplasmic enlargement, the expression of senescence-associated-β-galactosidase, matrix-metalloproteinase-1, and cell cycle proteins. Moreover, the alterations in the cell membrane lipids, such as the decrease in the polyunsaturated fatty acid content of phospholipids and the increase in cholesterol levels, which are typical features of cell aging, were prevented. Our data suggest that PPARγ is one of the targets of PUVA-SIPS and that its pharmacological up-modulation may represent a novel therapeutic approach for the photooxidative skin damage.</p></div>